Sleep is considered as one of the three pillars of life in Ayurveda and we spend near enough 1/3 of our life doing it. While our body takes restful sleep, it is quietly working to detoxify, regenerate and rejuvenating each and every cell of the body, so we need to give our body enough time and honour to do it’s precious work to maintain optimal health. Sleep is just as necessary and nourishing as food is for our body, mind and emotions and when we have rested well, we can have a much more productive day.
With our often erratic modern lifestyles, we can often go to bed too late, don’t get enough sleep, and the quality of our sleep can be frequently disturbed. In the long term this can affect the release of melatonin from the pineal gland, the hormone that regulates our sleepy and wakeful state.
Sound sleep is important because:
- Most of our tissue repair happens overnight
- Wounds get a chance heal
- Our muscles get rest and grow
- Metabolic wastes are prepared for elimination
- It support our immune system
- Restores and can increase our energy
- Impacts reduction of stress
- Strengthens our memory, ability to learn, concentration and other brain functions
- Can support longevity
- Can reduce risk of health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes
Here are my 10 key rituals to help get you in the zone for a restful night’s sleep.
- Reduce caffeine as a whole and avoid after 12pm
- Make sure you finish your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime and preferably by 6:30-7pm.
- Avoid vigorous exercise after 6pm and rather exercise between 6am-10am or take an invigorating morning walk
- Bedtime is naturally best at around 10pm. You might just catch the Kapha part of the day and support a deeper sleep aligned to your natural circadian rhythms. A routine daily sleep time is key to maintaining good quality sleep, if it helps use an alarm to stick to a routine.
- Avoid all stimulation at least 60-90 minutes before bed. This means, phones, TV, tablets, gripping novels, late night working etc. You will know what your vice is. Try to keep the bedroom, screen free. Leave the phone in the kitchen and use a traditional alarm clock
- Ensure your room is well ventilated and you are getting a fresh supply of air
- Instead, indulge in self care, take a warm bath with calming and fragrant essential oils, light some candles, incense, play gentle music, read inspirational writings, meditate, write in your journal, what are your grateful for from your day?
- Give yourself a warm sesame oil foot massage. Our feet are full of nerve endings and when massaged send calming and relaxing signals to the brain. Massaging the temples can work just as well.
- Drink a warm spiced milk before bed. Did you know that nutmeg and cardamom have sedative effect on the mind
- As you get into bed or in bed as you lie, engage in some gentle focused breathing. If you are familiar with yogic breathing techniques from your yoga class, the Ujjaya breath is great at this time.
Good night and sleep well … zzz